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Homeland Review: “Beirut Is Back” (Season 2, Episode 2)

With an ending like that, Homeland's second episode of the season reminds us why it won all those Emmys.

Let me first start out with a HOLY CRAP! This is the reason that Homeland won the Emmy and this is the reason it should win it again. I was skeptical about this show coming back when it had a near perfect first season, but with just two episodes in, the shock factor card is still clearly in play.

The first scene with Carrie approaching Fatima at the mosque set things up quite well. The relationship and the trust between the two was immediately obvious. In these types of shows, an asset is a call for danger, both on the story and on the audience. Do we trust this person? Should we trust this person? These are questions that a whole season could be based on – case in point, Brody. For the most part, Fatima proved to be a reliable asset as evident of Carrie’s demeanor when talking with her. A pleasant scene with a hint of suspense to set the tone and a piece of information we’ve all been waiting for.

Brody’s first scene is at a classy party complete with classy food, drink, and attire. He meets with the Vice President who informs him that one of Iran’s nuclear sites survived the attack. He wants Brody to make a few calls to the President to urge him to take action against this site.

Meanwhile, Jessica is approached by Cynthia Walden, Vice President Walden’s wife, and is recruited to host a fundraising party for war veterans. Jessica agrees to meet with Cynthia to discuss the plans. Brody is hesitant upon hearing this and tells Jessica the real enemies are the people in the room.

First off, I felt the setting and music of the scene was off for what we normally see. It felt more James Bond than anything else. I might be being nitpicky, but with a show that does exceptionally well in its niche of an ambiance, I have a reason to be. However, the whole fundraiser thing was great in my opinion. The sole reason being that Jessica is slowly falling into the hole that Brody is trying to fight against. Jessica had already broken down upon finding the Quran, making Brody’s character trapped between what is right and what is “right” – I’ll let you figure out which one is which. Brody’s line to Jessica at the end about the real enemies in the room was cringe-worthy. It didn’t need to be there. We know what side he is aligning himself with and we don’t need a reminder that serves no purpose.

Carrie returns to Saul and immediately spills everything she has learned from Fatima, that her husband is meeting with Abu Nazir. Saul and Estes question Carrie’s asset and her ability to perform, seeing as this information could be a trap. Carrie has a mental breakdown and reveals to Saul that she wouldn’t trust herself, but she would trust the agent who recruited Fatima to begin with. Saul calls for the operation to kill Nazir a go.

I’m not sure how I feel about Carrie’s breakdown. I mean, it worked to make Saul believe her, but I felt it was too soon. If she’s having that much of a breakdown this early, I don’t want to know how crazy she’ll get in the episodes to come. Again, we don’t want her to keep breaking and recovering over and over. Her speech with Saul was as captivating as ever. The embrace at the end between Carrie and Saul highlighted their father/daughter relationship, one that rivals Brody and Dana’s. Estes was slightly annoying, but his character is supposed to be so not much to complain about on his end.

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About the author

Andy Wong